Do you have what it takes to be an SGL?
Being a support group leader can be one of the most rewarding volunteer jobs of your life and also one of the most challenging. Successful leader share several qualities:
- They are positive, encouraging and hopeful. Rather than being “pity parties,” successful group leaders encourage groups to be involved, such as participating in IC Awareness Month, etc.
- They listen well, especially when working with patients in crisis. They do NOT share their personal horror stories about life with IC. These group leaders always offer compassionate, supportive words.
- They do NOT give medical advice nor do they interfere in the relationship between a patient and her care provider. Rather, their job is to encourage patient-physician communication.They understand that understand that each patient has a unique journey and that they should encourage IC patients to be active participants in their own medical care.
- They role model proper behavior and facilitate positive discussions. They create the agenda and introduce topics. They step in and turn a negative discussion into a “what can we all learn from this experience” opportunity for growth. They are assertive, in gentle, kind and supportive way.
- Support group leaders put their own issues aside. They are passionate about IC and filled with hope, even when they are having a bad day. Some are spokespersons who share their stories to local media and/or at events. The most successful make an effort to learn how to be a good facilitator.
Be honest with yourself? Do you listen well?? Can you restrain yourself from talking about your own IC situation in favor of listening to others? Do you understand that your job is to help educate patients, not to tell them what to do?? Are you strong enough to take control in a meeting when others might try to dominate it? Can you turn a negative into a positive?? Are you willing to learn how to run a meeting?
If you think you can embrace the above values, then we encourage you to start a group! You don’t have to be perfect. There is always a learning curve as you get comfortable in your own role as a group leader rather than as a participant. We’re more than happy to help you learn! Welcome!!!